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USC student Katie Kim to study wearable technology at Oura

Katie Kim portrait

Kim earned a Women in Sports Technology fellowship, hopes to continue working in fitness wearables and sports tech industry.


KATIE KIM MS ’24 HAS HAD A LOVE FOR SPORTS for as long as she can remember. She grew up playing tennis and skiing, and a sports medicine class in high school sparked a lifelong interest. Kim has been selected as a 2024 Women in Sports Tech Fellow, where she will intern at health tech company Oura this summer. 

Kim graduated from the University of California–Davis in 2022 with a degree in biomedical engineering, with an emphasis in biomechanics. She wanted to continue studying sports performance, and worked for a year in fitness wearables, helping Google on their Pixel Watch. When she found out about USC’s biokinesiology program, it felt like a perfect fit. 

“They matched up with exactly what I wanted to do because it emphasizes sport, science and human performance, but with the biomechanics background,” Kim says, “so I figured going back to school and getting a more technical background would help me ultimately go back into industry.” 

Kim hopes to dive into product development for sports performance. She says that companies like Nike and Adidas have research labs where they are creating better athletic equipment — but to test those products, they work with people to better understand the effects on the body. And long term, she wants to work in fitness wearables. “I like tech,” she says, “and I think that’s where a lot of fast-paced innovation will happen.” 

When she was granted the fellowship, she had a list of opportunities — from research to technical to marketing — at sports tech companies. She was able to rank her favorites, and then interview with the companies to make sure there was a good fit. 


“Be a Sponge”


At Oura, Kim hopes to get additional mentorship and guidance, as well as being surrounded by people who are like her. “Not only having the mentorship but also having the other women selected to have those connections and learn from their experiences.” 

She came to USC in part because Los Angeles is a hub for sport-related industry — every major sport has a team or two here, so opportunities would come more easily. In addition, she says that USC had faculty with deep experience and connections. Susan Sigward, director of the biokinesiology master of science degree programs, was also a reason Kim chose USC: Sigward has helped her point her studies to eventually landing back in industry. “She’s been very adamant about making sure that I’m getting what I want out of this program,” Kim says. “She’s been a big proponent of my time here both convincing me to come here as well as making sure I enjoy my time here.” 

“Katie is an excellent student,” Sigward says. “She came into the program with strong academics from her undergraduate program and applied experience in the sports technology industry. She wasted no time applying her skills to ongoing projects working with movement analysis data collected across different motion capture technologies for assessment of movement quality in athletic tasks.” 

The faculty member  has a few words of advice as Kim goes into her internship: “Be a sponge. You have an excellent future in applied sports biomechanics. Take advantage of the experiences that the internship offers and seek opportunities to learn about the unique opportunities and challenges embedded in industry projects,” she says. “Most importantly, optimize the mentorship you will receive from women in this space.”